Super Best Audio Friends

The evolution of the original irreverent and irrelevant and non-authoritative site for headphone measurements, i.e. frequency response graphs, CSD waterfall plots, subjective gear reviews. Too objective for subjectivists; too subjective for objectivists

I really like how these sound, and they are the opposite kind of headphones I usually like. I’m impressed by what Hifiman and Drop have pulled off here. I think these are going to make a lot of people very happy and sell extremely well. I think I would take these over any ortho I’ve heard under the LCD-2 Classic price range maybe. The LCD-2 Classic has lower distortion obviously, but these are more clear and neutral sounding. I’ve heard some cheap orthos (I won’t name names) that sound way way worse. Hifiman should make more electrodynamics…

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I can confidently recommend these headphones for anyone wanting a budget headphone with a neutral/natural signature. Those who like the Focal Clear or HD650 are likely to enjoy these. If you like John Grados, you might miss upper midrange emphasis. If you like bass heavy headphones, you will likely want more bass than these have.
Thanks to @Philimon for setting these up with Shipibo. For those who are not aware, Shipibo offers a variety of Grado related stuff: headbands, cups, aluminum gimbals and rods, etc. Check them out here: https://www.shipibo.audio/

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Shipibo Audio Pads on RS2e
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The RS2X borrows bit from the RS1X with the wood cups. Instead of fusing three different woods, the RS2X sandwiches two woods, maple and hemp. I never had a chance to hear the special edition hemp, but this approach sound really nice. The effect is subtle and an actually an improvement in the wood coloration rather than different.

RS2X (left) vs RS2r (right)
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The biggest surprise which caught me off guard was the improvement in resolution, plankton, microdynamics. I had to do a double take; but yes, after direct comparison, the RS2X is as good as the RS1E with respect to immediacy and expressiveness. It would seem that Grado has improved both the RS1X and RS2X over the prior E versions, with the RS2X receiving a greater incremental improvement. As such, the RS2X with the F-cushions has become one of my daily headphones.
The G6 was brought to my attention as an inexpensive and neat little hardware device to get that out-of-your-head experience while playing games or watching movies on the computer using headphones. You know, the immersive experience shit. This article will comprise a guide on how to set up the G6 for virtual surround (thanks to @Hands or whoever the original information came from), my two cents pertaining to sound quality and gaming features, and some measurements.

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First of all, let's get the easy stuff out of the way. The headphones output of the G6 is mediocre. Actually, it's kind of shitty -dirty sounding. Hard to explain, but I'd rather not use it. I haven't measured it yet, but knowing its design, I'm betting the typical suite of SINAD type measurements will be good. The problem is that sometimes the perceived differences are there, but the measurements are not the right ones. We'll see. I'll leave the measurbator stuff for last. As a DAC from the line outs in the back, the G6 is pretty good sounding. Hook up a cheap amp from the likes of iFi or Schiit, are we are done. However, this is extra work, and for movies or games, who really cares about audiophile sound quality?
Anyway, this came to mind because @rlow mentioned that his boutique Sotm AIO source sounded better using Unison than SPDIF/AES from pi2AES. The latter being a standard among many members, mainly for it's easy of use for streaming (once properly set up). @rlow's post comparing three different source transports is here: https://www.superbestaudiofriends.o...sports-shootout-with-unison-usb-and-aes.8810/

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This is when I realized that I picked up this PCI USB card years ago intending to try it out. I forgot about it until recently when I found in a box of old that I had just unpacked. This card is still available from Amazon, although the brand of it has changed. https://www.amazon.com/BEYIMEI-Expansion-Connector-Suitable-Linux(2X/dp/B08DFBCSH3/
I'd heard the Hifiman Edition X a looooooong time ago (prob 2016ish) and was really like... wow. But it was out of my [wallet's] league. Couple of years down and we're graced with the presence of the Massdrop x Hifiman Edition XX. I wanted to take a bite so bad - but then the availability, shipping times, duties and the mixed reviews didn't get my anywhere.

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I was just strolling on AliExpress casually and lo and behold - saw the Hifiman Edition XS on AliExpress; just stumbled upon it. For $441ish, it really got me going and then I decided okay, I gotta get this now. Stealth magnets - thinner diaphragm - but most importantly, a price tag at less than $450!

Finally filled my cravings and ordered one off Hifigo. Maybe I could have waited for some reviews. But I knew I had to get one of the egg-shaped Hifimans now, enough is enough. So I bit the bullet - and I'm so glad that I did when I did. I'm really - REALLY loving what I hear. Again, this may be quite subjective at this moment, but I'll throw in some initial impressions and details here with some photos. I don't see an Edition XS thread here so I'm going to put some info here. I've read that this is [at the moment], a China-only edition, and will arrive in other markets soon - not sure how true this is.
I've had the Geshelli E2 here for about a month. Along with my thoughts about it, I am comparing it with the Schiit Jot 2 which I hope might be useful to other SBAF members.

tldr; the E2 is a fun, beauty of an amp. It's smooth, clean AF, and a pleasure to listen to. It is a bit more dry and does not have the bloom, slam and space that the Jot 2 presents, but it is a musical, detail and imaging champion. It is more fun than so-called "accurate" amps and kills the etchy THX stuff dead in their tracks. Both the E2 and Jot 2 present material with impeccable taste. They are similar in their enjoyment-factor but are different enough in their presentation to be complimentary. I'm keeping both.

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I definitely have to hand it to Geshelli for making an amp that does what the E2 does for this price. I would pick it over any value-priced SS amp I've had here. It stands up perfectly well against the Jot 2 (which is twice the price) and I think anyone who is balanced-curious would be well served by an E2.
I originally wrote out this guide for @Gaspasser back when he had the 1541, but since the new 2541 is out now and I thought I share this little guide I made with the community. The process is pretty simple but the information is so spread out all over the web. Purpose of this guide is to simplify all the steps w/ visuals for dummies like me. To my ears, the custom filters sound much more engaging than the ones that come stock with the DAC, but YMMV

Helpful links:
Soekris Audio ApS, Downloads
Soekris dam 1021 R-2R DAC ILLUSTRATED GUIDE | H i F i D U I N O (wordpress.com)
randytsuch's audio page: Soekris R2R Dam DAC (randytsuch-audio.blogspot.com)

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**if any part was confusing, maybe other friends can fill in the gaps and make the guide even better. I don't own a soekris DAC anymore so I'm not sure how much more I can be of help, but hopefully this will suffice for the lot of you**
Intrigued by positive mentions here and elsewhere, I ordered this kit direct from Custom Cans. Excluding VAT it was GDP 29.17 + GBP 9.60 postage to Canada. Sure, I could have just done the KISS mod, but I would have had to buy Dynamat and I didn't want to kill any spiders, so I thought I'd give this a try.

The kit consist of a pair milled copper rings that fit over the spider, 4 different pairs of foam inserts to go in the magnet hole (the existing foam disc(s) under the outer spider should be removed), and 3 stick-on gaskets (a pair and a spare) that look like sections through a coronavirus to stick over spiders with legs that are too skinny to hold the rings on their own (varies between models or generations):

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Besides adding mass the weight is purported to smooth the airflow, the combination resulting in "more detailed bass and a little more sub-bass", which can then be tuned to taste with the different foam plugs. The foams on the left are drilled through with tapered bores; they're placed opposite ways up for the photo. The ones on the right are the least dense material and have the number 3 stamped out through them. Of the remaining pairs, the blue (3rd from left) are more dense and slightly longer than the yellow (2nd from left).
A few months back, I posted some thoughts on why I felt balanced armature IEMs suck: https://www.superbestaudiofriends.org/index.php?threads/why-balanced-armature-drivers-suck.11485/

UM 3DT IEM Frequency Response
RED = Stock
CYN = x2 layers outer mask material over nozzle
ORA = x1 layer out and x1 layer middle mask material over nozzle
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In a nutshell:
  • The price is right, especially with the recent price reduction.
  • Conditionally highly recommended, provided you are willing to put in some elbow grease. Difficult highs. timbre, and distortion are largely addressed with tape mod.
  • Doubtful everything can be fixed. Mid-treble peakage cannot be totally fixed. There are downsides with taping stuff over the nozzle, stuffier sound, and attenuation of last octave. Some experimentation for ideal material to suit personal tastes and find the right trade-offs may be necessary.
  • Nice DD timbre, but DD downsides (treble peakage) not fully addressed
  • Good resolution considering price.
Since the RS1e (reviewed here), Grado has gone to a larger 50mm driver, which is different than the 44mm drivers on the RS2X and down. There once was a time when all Grados including the RS1* were 44mm drivers. Grado now differentiates their TOTL RS1 series with the larger driver. The X model here is a reformulation of the 50mm driver on the RS1e. From what I'm hearing, this could be their most resolving driver yet. The difference was quite discernable going from an SR325X to the RS1X.

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With the X, Grado has further differentiated the RS1 with sexier wood cups. I don't know how they pulled this off, but Grado managed to sandwich maple, hemp, and cocobolo in the wood cups. The wood cups on the RS1X are deeper than the cups on the rest of the lineup. The idea I presume is to maximize the coloration of these woods, which IMO is their best and most interesting yet. Make no mistake, the RS1X is a full-blown Grado interpretative experience. Long time Grado fans will love this. Audiophile wanting something a different may love this. For those who want something that plays stuff back more straight up, there are the SR225X and SR325X. Unlike the SR225X and 325X, the RS1X goes for the classic Grado tonal response on yesteryear, that is lean and punchy with upper mid crunch, but dial it back a bit in the mid-treble so it's no so bright.
The 7hz Timeles iem is, like I said, the most natural, normal sounding iem I’ve ever heard. It’s got a beautiful, rich, airy, upfront, natural and neutral sounding midrange. It has punchy, solid, dynamic bass that is completely neutral (out of the Liquid Gold X) and has pretty good texture and detail and layering but not up to full size ortho levels, it’s a bit softer and less defined and controlled than my Audeze headphones. It has absolutely no peaks anywhere in the upper mids-treble, which is dead flat (though there could be a small recession in the upper mids and I might not notice it, this is very hard to hear despite what everyone thinks). Treble is dead neutral, with great tone. Cymbals sound metallic. They have perfect tone and timbre throughout the spectrum, rendering instruments with a very lifelike sound. Brass sounds brassy, violins sound woody. They have pretty good soundstage, but not the best in the iem market, but it’s still quite good, and immersive. They are very resolving but they don’t shove it in your face like the Zen Pro, they have much softer attacks, so they don’t scream resolution at you, but it’s there, I believe equal to the Zen Pro or just slightly behid. They have very natural sounding attacks and leading edges of notes that are possibly a bit soft if anything. They fit well despite the odd shape.

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Did I mention they are $200?